Saturday, March 31, 2001

Favorite London Times opening paragraph this week:

THE Tory MP who provoked fury by warning that immigrants had undermined Britains Anglo-Saxon society admitted yesterday that he owned a house in France, drove a Mercedes and had a business
importing European wine.

You'd think that if anyone was going to be sympathetic this week, it would be the Israeli parents of the 10-month old baby who got shot by a sniper this week. But they were settlers, so you'd be wrong. They decided to hold their own dead baby hostage, saying they would not bury it until the Israeli army retook a hill.

Speaking of occupying the moral high ground, Mayor Benito Guiliani appointed his "decency panel" this week, to vet art in publicly financed museums. He named his divorce lawyer to it.

The Supreme Court will reconsider whether it is ok to execute the profoundly retarded (an oxymoron, surely).

Like us, Jamaica doesn't put insane people on trial, but it does put them in jail until they're sane enough to be tried. And then, sometimes, forget about them completely, like this guy who broke a window in 1972.....

For the first time in history, the Japanese are now on average taller than the Chinese. This is actually a source of concern to the Chinese government, which is encouraging its youth to grow, dammit, grow. Milk-drinking is now compulsory, despite the fact that most Chinese are lactose-intolerant. The youth themselves are going in for that horrifying leg-lengthening surgery, and taking quack growth pills (I'm sure there's also some endangered species that they're eating for the same end, but it's not mentioned in the Telegraph.

Thursday, March 29, 2001

Ashcroft broke the ethics rules of the Justice Department by threatening spy Robert Hanssen with the death penalty if he didn't give information.

Wednesday, March 28, 2001


So my electricity rates are going to go up by half, give or take, in order to save PG&E & SCE from bankruptcy. Well, it was the least I could do.

Mitch McConnell voted for an amendment to campaign finance reform that he claims is unconstitutional, in order to kill the bill. Given that he has taken an oath to protect the Constitution, I'd say that vote is equivalent to a resignation. We accept, don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.

I actually watched the Academy Awards, although I hadn't seen most of the movies. Julia Roberts thanked everyone in the world except the person she played. She also forgot to thank her breasts for their out-standing performance. Oh, what, like you all weren't thinking the same thing. Steve Martin said at the beginning that there were almost a billion people watching them, all thinking the same thing: You are all gay. Well, no, I wasn't thinking that, not until Gladiator won Best Picture.

The Bush-era EPA (motto: We're Trying to Think of Something Else for that P to Stand For) has decided that nobody really has to know what the emergency plans are for nearby chemical plants, or what they might be exposed to in event of an accident.

I hadn't realized just how long a wish-list American business
had. Bankruptcy reform, arsenic in the water, no repetitive stress standards, and the list goes on. Who knew that Clinton had actually stopped all this stuff, sort of? Indeed, who knew that American business couldn't do any damn thing it wanted?

Zimbabwe is eliminating dual citizenship. This is the next step in Mugabe's ethnic cleansing campaign.

Prince Charles once gave blood. Write your own joke.

Monday, March 26, 2001

Stalked by a game

Oddly enough, it also comes out this week that Mussolini had a first wife and child no one knew about--including the woman he married bigamously. He had both locked up in asylums, where they died in 1937 and 1942 respectively.

Mississippi's Legislature orders that "In God we Trust" be put up in every classroom, school cafeteria, etc. The ACLU sees no reason to contest this, since no one in a Mississippi school is likely to be able to read it.

Saturday, March 24, 2001

While in exile in Siberia, Stalin impregnated a 14-year old. Not a lot to do in those Arctic winters, I guess. But still. And never paid child support, either. Who knew that Stalin might not be a good person?

The Supreme Court allows employers to force employers to give up their right to sue them.

Berlin is having a problem with wild boars. There's a joke there, and I wouldn't touch it with a ten-foot Pole.

According to the National Enquirer (so it must be true) (actually on this sort of thing they usually are), Jenna Bush, one of the president's daughters, smokes pot.

Friday, March 23, 2001

Favorite headline in today's Times: Hunt for escaped Filipino cannibal

Website of the week:

You pretend to be a dictator or a sit-com character. It asks you a series of questions and then accurately guesses who you are. The amount of work necessary to create something like this is frightening.

Bush ends the Bar Association's role in evaluating prospective judges, observing that there are dozens of professional organizations interested in judicial nominees. So from now on, the Plumbers' Association of America will evaluate judicial nominees.

Bush reverses Clinton's standards for arsenic in the water supply. I'm sorry, but the only place there should be arsenic is in an Agatha Christie novel.

I don't think I mentioned the South Carolina attorney general, running soon for governor, who said that it's ok to kill people breaking into your home. In one case including the a guy who lived there. License to kill. He will *never* prosecute such cases.

Saturday, March 17, 2001

The 14th Circuit upholds Texas's anti-sodomy law.

Speaking of which, the Biker from the Village People died this week, and was buried in his biker outfit. Also, Ann Southern, who would like not to be remembered as the title character of My Mother the Car. Also, the, amazingly enough, serial killer who killed Janet Leigh's body double from Psycho, is finally convicted.

Wednesday, March 14, 2001

And a special hello to those on the list who are up to their asses in snow. It's shorts and sandals weather out here, you'll be pleased to hear.

I got a leaflet in my mailbox today for a "professional Oriental gardener." I'm still not sure if he's a professional gardener or a professional Oriental.

Evidently when Bush promised to regulate carbon dioxide emissions, he was unaware of some important new information he has since learned: it might cost money.

That's not my joke, that's what the White House said.

Clarifying his foreign policy, Bush says that Russia is not an enemy but may be a threat.

Bush, evidently not going after the Nobel Peace Prize that eluded Clinton, has invited Ian Paisley to the White House for St Patrick's Day.

Three Turks were convicted for a ritual murder of a young woman to prevent any more earthquakes like that of August 1999. They received 25-year terms. And 6 months more because they took her handbag. Which I'm guessing they also planned to sacrifice.

Saturday, March 10, 2001

Headline from today's NY Times: Fearing Virus, Alabama Quarantines Tractors.

Ariel Sharon's first act as prime minister will be to advocate the re-legalization of torture.

DON'T TRY THIS AT HOME: A Florida boy aged 14 is sentenced in Florida to life without parole for killing a 6-year old girl when he was 12, copying wrestling moves learned from tv. When you heard that a kid was sentenced to life, you did automatically assume that he was black, didn't you? Well, you'd be right. And I know this because another kid whose trial shouldn't have been televised was. Nobody seems to have asked Governor The Body for his opinion.

Next to that story on the front page of today's NY Times is the face of another kid, who was at one of those shot-up high schools, appeared on every talk show he could get on (his mother wouldn't allow him to talk to Geraldo or Larry King), and is
suffering from withdrawal of media attention three days later. If
you want to write a think-piece about the relationship between tv & violence, those 2 stories would seem to be related.

There is a Christian group here in California I believe called Snowflakes, whose job is to convince Christians to adopt embryos created for IVF but not used. Nice sense of proportion, guys.

Friday, March 09, 2001

Bush speaks / websites

First, the websites. Well, there's
and there's

which I didn't look at myself but which I understand involves your telling the site what stuff is in your refrigerator, and it tells you what you can make. For more of this sort of thing, you might check out,
which is a sort of fake webzine in connection with a BBC drama set in the offices of the webzine, if you follow, but its links are certainly interesting and I've passed some on before. You might also check out their random URL generator, which selects a word at random from a large dictionary, adds dot com to the end and goes there. Well I enjoyed it anyhow. Somewhere on their list of links is one for crappy corporate anthems. Enjoy.

Thursday, March 08, 2001

That's how the president speaks

The US military has been clearing Kosovo Albanian guerillas out of their bases, along with our new best friends, the Serbs. Today, they protected the Kosovo-Montenegran border in a military action whose only flaw was that it took place in entirely the
wrong country, thanks to faulty NATO maps.

Isn't it great how the same Republicans who complained about Clinton turning the Lincoln bedroom into a Holiday Inn are equally outspoken about the Navy using its subs as a roller coaster for the rich? Oh, right, they haven't done that. Just as well; if Trent Lott decided to do something principled his fiber-glass toupee could do major damage in the emergency surfacing exercise as he pulled his head out of his ass.

That joke worked better in my head than when I tried to condense it into a single sentence.

Ariel Sharon finally has his government, ranging from alleged peacenik Shimon Peres (who should be ashamed of himself) to people who want to expel all the "Arabs." Finally, a Cabinet that looks like Israel (except for those self-same Arabs, who have been ethnically cleansed from the Cabinet, again).

On yesterday's news, I saw footage from the courtroom of the kid who shot up his school. Why are we seeing the face of an unconvicted minor on tv?

So was Bush downplaying Cheney's latest heart "incident" or just desperate when he kept saying how sure he was that the best thing was for Cheney to return to work immediately, if not sooner? Obviously the sub hasn't been giving him enough homework, as demonstrated in this quote from today's NY Times:

In a brief exchange with reporters after meeting Mr. Kim in the Oval Office, Mr. Bush said: "We're not certain as to whether or not they're keeping all terms of all agreements." But the United States has only one agreement with North Korea -- the 1994 accord that froze North Korea's plutonium processing at a suspected nuclear weapons plant. And at a briefing this afternoon two senior administration officials, asked about the president's statement, said there was no evidence that North Korea is violating its terms.

Later, a White House spokesman said that Mr. Bush was referring to his concern about whether the North would comply with future accords, even though he did not use the future tense. "That's how the president speaks," the official said.

Tuesday, March 06, 2001

So the Taliban (which is Pushtu for "everyone's a critic") have been firing artillery at ancient statuary. Don't tell Mayor Guiliani.

Speaking of picking on someone your own size, 35 Muslims on haj in Mecca were stampled during the Stoning Satan ceremony. That would be Muslims 0, Satan 35. Go team.

Now if only the giant Buddha would get off his fat ass and kick some tiny Afghani butt of his own.

Speaking of religious loons, the NY Times reported Monday that US AID money to aid victims of El Salvador's earthquake is being funnelled through a little organization called Samaritan's Purse, run by the son of Billy Graham, which forces people to sit through prayer sessions and talks about how Jesus (a Protestant Jesus, yet) loves them before they get any food and shelter. All of which leads to the question, what sort of a name is Samaritan's Purse, anyway? One thing about those God-botherers, they do know how to accessorize.

Speaking of sending a message, the Supreme Court says that the Klan should be allowed to pick up trash (but not white trash) on the highway between St. Louis and the suburbs. Please note that this is not just about free speech within a government program (and picking up garbage next to a highway in a government-sponsored program goes beyond even my expansive views of what should be covered by the 1st Amendment). They had actually been allowed into the program. No, what they wanted was a stretch of highway used by black children in school busing programs.

A few days ago, the Times noted that jury verdicts now decide the results of only 4.3% of federal criminal trials (down from 10.4% in 1988) and 1.5% in federal civil trials. It's not just in the US that lawyers no longer trust juries. In Britain too, government plans to eliminate the option of jury trials for certain crimes has been presented as a cost-saving measure but actually reflects the fact that juries will no longer reliably convict. Government-appointed judges, of course, will.